Remote access provider iPass has more than doubled its European Wi-Fi coverage by adding T-Mobile hotspots.
The company admits that Wi-Fi is still a minority interest for its users, albeit a growing one.
The deal gives iPass users 8000 more hotspots to choose from in European countries including the UK and Germany, taking the total in Europe to 13,000, and the worldwide total to 44,000, said Doug Loewe, iPass's vice president for EMEA and Asia.
The vast majority of iPass users are still on dial-up, he admitted. Of around 800,000 users, only 90,000 used Wi-Fi or broadband during the last quarter of 2005. "It's a minority, but we're getting double-digit growth in usage," he said. In the same period of 2004, only 35,000 people used iPass's Wi-Fi service.
"Two years ago, CIOs were not interested in broadband - they were apprehensive," said Loewe. "Now, virtually every RFP asks for it. Some RFPs are for Wi-Fi only. We've been pleasantly surprised, as enterprises have been comfortable using iPass to move from legacy connections to Wi-Fi."
Interestingly it is two years since iPass was competing with rival GoRemote on the number of hotspots each could offer. That conflict is resolved, with iPass recently buying GoRemote. With this deal, iPass is now bigger than the Boingo Wi-Fi network, he said.
With this many hotspots, iPass is going to drive prices down, he said, and choose the best rate automatically at a given hotspot, which is then billed to one corporate bill. "The goal is for iPass to be at least at parity with the market," he said. "You could maybe get better if you chose the perfect voucher," he said, but pointed out that working out Wi-Fi charges could be time-consuming and frustrating.
The GoRemote team was going to be very useful to iPass, he said: "A hundred plus probrammers in Bangalore have come aboard. They will increase the frequency of iPass software updates." GoRemote will also give it better integration with cable-modem and DSL access, he added.
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